By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
syoes@afro.com

For the first time in the history of the AFRO American Newspapers, the 127-year old media organization closed its offices this week in response to the burgeoning Coronavirus epidemic.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of March 16, the virus has killed more than 6,000 people globally, and according to the Maryland Department of Health, there are 57 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the state. The Health Department’s website does not list the number of deaths attributed to the virus.

However, the AFRO will continue to provide news coverage locally, nationally and internationally as employees telework in compliance with federal government recommendations to help mitigate the spread of the disease.

(Photo by By Billion Photos/Shutterstock)

“The AFRO is committed as we’ve always been to make sure our readers have the most updated information,” said AFRO publisher and CEO, Frances “Toni” Murphy Draper. “We are concerned like everybody else about the Coronavirus, so we made the decision to close our offices.”

Despite the challenge, the newspaper will continue to publish as it has through two World Wars and myriad catastrophes during the AFRO’s history.

In fact, Draper said she made her way as a young college student to the newspaper’s offices on Eutaw St., during the Baltimore riot of 1968, with her one-year old son Kevin strapped in the back seat of her car. “A police officer stopped me and said, `Lady, why are you out here with this little baby?’ I told him I have to go to the AFRO, and he has to go with me,” Draper said.

“We’ve had AFRO.com and a very robust social media presence for a long time and we’ll continue to use those platforms as well as our print product. I want to commend the AFRO team for their dedication during this time. And that’s been our history.”

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor